“Whatever will I do with you?” Gabriel murmured as the blonde boy crumpled into his arms. He carried him over to his rough bed, his lips tugging down a little at how light the boy was. Laying him out on the bed, Gabriel left him wrapped in his blanket, pushing damp, dirty blonde hair back from his forehead and pressed his hand to the skin. “You’re ill,” he sighed, wondering what to do. Emily could care for him, he supposed, but he couldn’t have her walking into the village to look after him.
Letting out another small sigh, he lifted Lazarus again, taking care to keep him enveloped in the blanket as he hastily left the village behind him.
“Ah, you’re awake. Finally,” a familiar voice spoke somewhere to his left as he opened his eyes, squinting through the half light in the room. He looked around at Emily, confused by her words and the relieved smile on her lips.
“Why m’I here?” he asked groggily.
“Master Emerson went to find you at the village to make sure the two of you remained friends, but you were sick. Carried you all the way back up here, he did,” her smile became a fond one as she fluffed his pillows and made sure he was comfortable.
“I dun remember,” Lazarus mumbled.
“You must mean a lot to him, y’know,” Emily carried on, barely noticing him speak as she pushed a cup of juice in his hand, “he was here looking after you more than I was.” Lazarus felt a blush creeping over his cheeks at that. “I’ve never seen him so fond of anyone before. I’ll let him know you’re awake, shall I?” Emily bustled off before he could do more than open his mouth to reply.
Lazarus attempted to think of some way to apologise to Gabriel before he arrived, but his mind went blank as he stared at the covers.
But no... not entirely blank. Somewhere in his mind, he was remembering the warmth that he associated with Gabriel’s presence. Until the young lord was physically in the room with the boy, however, he was still cold.
Looking up as muffled footsteps padded along the plush rugs, he felt the coldness in his bones start to dissipate, the same way the chill of a winter day would melt away as he slid into the arms of a lover. He began to wonder what it would be like to slip into Gabriel’s arms like that.
His blush returned as Gabriel’s eyes met his for a moment longer than they maybe should have. Gabriel didn’t seem to mind, sitting on the edge of the bed with the boy.
“How’re you feeling, Lazarus?” he asked, his mellow tone making Lazarus feel more at ease than he thought he would be able to feel around Gabriel.
“Tired, but I’m alright, I guess. You?”
Gabriel laughed a little at the needless question, but answered anyway: “I’m fine; much better now I know you’re better.” Lazarus’ fading blush swiftly deepened.
“I had no idea I meant so much to you,” he muttered, secretly revelling in the thought of Gabriel caring for him so – perhaps as more than a friend, even. He had to do his best to quell those thoughts quickly, before they caused him any more humiliation than he had already endured.
“I must admit when I first met you, I was making excuses to keep you around because you were an interesting slice of life from elsewhere, but I feel I am rather fond of you now,” Gabriel smiled, “I hope you will forgive me for observing you like the native of another land, Lazarus. You are a friend to me now – I can only hope that I am a friend to you, too.”
Lazarus’ head spun a little and he sipped at the juice that was beginning to warm in his grip. “Sure,” he consented, bowing his head in an attempt to hide the brightness of the blush that refused to leave his face. Gabriel chuckled quietly.
“At least there is colour in your face today, Lazarus. If I hadn’t come down to the village when I did, you might’ve been one of those killed off by the winter,” he reminded the boy gently, hooking a finger under his chin and gently lifting his head up to face him. He was overcome by a strange urge to fold him into his arms and hold him tightly and promise to look after him. The boy looked like he needed it. His upbringing on the other hand, forced him to resist that urge and ruffle Lazarus’ hair lightly instead. “Think you can stomach some lunch? It’s time you had more than juice in you.”